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Aetna Inc (AET): Today's Featured Health Services Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Aetna (AET) pushed the Health Services industry higher today making it today's featured health services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.3%. By the end of trading, Aetna rose $1.28 (3%) to $44.71 on average volume. Throughout the day, four million shares of Aetna exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $44.04-$44.73 after having opened the day at $44.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.43. Other companies within the Health Services industry that increased today were: CombiMatrix Corporation (CBMX), up 336.6%, ZELTIQ Aesthetics (ZLTQ), up 6.8%, ERBA Diagnostics (ERB), up 4.8%, and WellCare Health Plans (WCG), up 3.5%.

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Aetna Inc. operates as a diversified health care benefits company in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions. Aetna has a market cap of $14.57 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Aetna a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aetna as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Cardica (CRDC), down 19.4%, IsoRay (ISR), down 7.8%, TranS1 (TSON), down 7.7%, and CAS Medical Systems (CASM), down 7.4%, were all laggards within the health services industry with Universal Health Services (UHS) being today's health services industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health services industry could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) while those bearish on the health services industry could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care (RXD).

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